Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

 

Islington Clean Air Parents are campaigning to reduce harmful levels of air pollution that are damaging our children’s health. Motor vehicles are not the only source but they account for 50% of air pollution in Islington.  Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) are one of a number of measures that can effectively reduce traffic on minor roads and subsequently traffic overall, and create space for walking and cycling which improves air quality.

In 2019 Islington Borough Council “committed to improve all residential areas in Islington to create a healthy, fair, accessible and enjoyable environment, and to enable local people to walk and cycle safely.” Part of this plan was to introduce low traffic neighbourhoods, in Islington they are called People Friendly Streets.

We are a completely independent and voluntary campaigning group but we are supporting the council’s People Friendly Streets scheme because we recognise that low traffic improves air quality and makes streets healthier for our children.

What is a low traffic neighbourhood?

A low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) is an area which are closed off to through traffic (except existing bus routes and emergency vehicles), so that you can drive in and out of the area, but can’t drive through it. All homes remain accessible by vehicle, but the layout stops people using minor roads as short cuts and makes it safer and easier to walk and cycle.

Why do we need low traffic neighbourhoods?

Research from around the world shows that LTNs reduce traffic in minor roads, enable residents to walk and cycle, and reduce air pollution, road danger, congestion and obesity.

We visited London’s first LTN scheme, ‘Mini-Holland’ in Waltham Forest. See the account of our visit here.  The scheme has been very successful in reducing air pollution. A Kings College study shows compared with 2013, changes to road infrastructure in Waltham Forest will reduce exposure to NO2 by 25% and by 13% for particulate matter by 2020.

We can all benefit from low traffic neighbourhoods. We love this clear and informative leaflet which explains all.

The council have rapidly increased the implementation of LTNs in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid has impacted the space we use to get around and there has been a massive reduction in public transport capacity to enable social distancing. If people choose to take to their cars as an alternative, it is estimated that traffic in Islington would double, creating a huge increase in congestion and air pollution.

The Government issued a statutory guide which required all local authorities to reallocate space to encourage cycling and walking and create space for social distancing. Many local authorities, including Islington and TFL have been rapidly changing street space across the capital to enable active travel.   More details about Islington Council’s People Friendly Streets are on their FAQ page.

What is the consultation process?

A formal public consultation process will follow 12 -18 months after the scheme goes in, but you can show your support now by adding comments to the Common Place Map or by completing online surveys here, if you live or work in Islington you can complete them it only takes a few minutes but is really helpful.  These are only temporary schemes at the moment so it is very important to show your support now and during the consultation period to make sure we get to keep them and continue to improve air quality.

What have ICAP been doing?

ICAP have been working with our members, local residents and other community campaigning groups to discuss local traffic issues and feedback to the council.  

  • We began by holding a number of Zoom meetings with local residents in Barnsbury, St Mary’s, Finsbury, Bunhill, Clerkenwell and St Georges Wards.
  • We helped set up and support local low traffic neighbourhood groups.
  • We have collaborated with other community groups to hold events in St Peter’s and Canonbury to celebrate the introduction of their LTNs.
  • We have been actively raising awareness and engaging in discussion on Twitter, Nextdoor and writing to the local press.

How do I campaign for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood?

  • Get involved in your local LTN group. If there isn’t one, start your own! We can offer support, share our experience and help get you up and running.
  • Go out with your family and enjoy the LTNs already implemented so that you can see for yourself what LTNs are really like.
  • Contact your ward councillors who are keen to hear from residents. You can also attend ward partnership meetings. More information can be found here

Here is a list of local LTN groups in Islington so far, more to come:

Spread the word! We simply need to drive less and make the streets safer and air cleaner for all of us, especially our children.

Sources:

Waltham Forest Air Quality https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/content/air-quality

If you’re not already a member please sign up. If you would like to get more involved or have a clean air issue you would like to campaign for please email islingtoncleanair@gmail.com.